Andy and the kids put together the Christmas Lego set that we got at the Lego store while in Chicago. The set is of a family decorating a Christmas tree. It comes complete with a ladder for the people to stand on while decorating, a train engine, and presents. Too cute!
We attended the Ridgeway Elementary Winter Choir Concert this evening to watch Laura perform. She had been so excited about her upcoming concert and she had worked really hard to learn all the songs. The choir performed 11 songs and the kids sounded great! I am very proud of Laura for working so hard. The choir has two performances left before Christmas break and then they will begin preparing for the spring concert. On a side note, the choir performed at Oak Towers this morning and ended up being front page news in the Columbia Daily Tribune! The kids were just beyond excited that they made the paper. Go Rams!
Alas, all trips must come to an end... After a fantastic breakfast prepared by Scot and Sheila, we headed for home about noon. It was a quiet and easy trip home. Unlike last year, the kids were not overly tired and that made for a much more enjoyable trip home. We managed to squeeze in some good entertainment and eats on the way home as the kids watched "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" and we stopped at Steak 'n Shake for a late lunch.
We arrived home safe and sound at 7:45 pm and the kids immediately searched the house for Chippy. Laura was so funny as she was ever-so-carefully peeking around corners to make sure that she didn't accidentally touch him. The kids found Chippy in their room sitting on the castle and they were so excited to see him. Laura said, "It's really Christmas now that Chippy is back!" I could *not* agree more!
After a quick dinner and bath, it was off to bed for Laura and John. I will not be far behind. It was a great trip, but there is really nothing like home.
It was a Saturday of fun in Chicago! It started with a trip to American Girl for Laura and I. We spent over an hour wandering from display to display. We took advantage of some really nice Black Friday deals as well as pick up some things like Saige's pajamas that Laura had been wanting. We took "the girls" for pampering in the Doll Salon and Laura got to design her own girl/doll matching t-shirts. It was a great trip to the American Girl store and Laura was so very, very excited! By the way, her favorite purchase is an activity book called "Doll at Work." It is all about setting up and running different businesses. I am quite impressed with the book and Laura can't wait to get her swimming pool business started.
After American Girl, we met Andy and John at the Lego store. We picked up some more train track for John's train, a couple of Lego City sets, a Christmas set, and a holiday magnet set. Also, we got to see Lego Santa and Lego Iron Man. My favorite part of the Lego store is just looking at all the different statues and displays. It is quite impressive to see just how many different things can be made out of Legos like the replica of the Chicago skyline or the Sydney Opera House.
Like last year, we went up to the Observation Deck in the John Hancock Building. While on one side of the building, Laura said, "Mom! It's the Rock and Roll McDonald's!" We had fun picking out the various landmarks and looking at the putting green, swimming pools, and lawns on top of some of the different buildings.
Along with the fantastic views of the city, we got to see Santa. We had a breakthrough with John as he actually talked to Santa and wasn't afraid of him! Both kids gave Santa their Christmas lists, which were surprisingly short. I would be impressed with the lack of Christmas list length except that I know both kids are planning to tell Chippy, our Elf on the Shelf, what they want as well and *those* lists are much longer...
We met Scot after he got off work and went to his and Sheila's apartment to spend the rest of our day. What a great and completely relaxing time! Ian came over to join us and we drank some good drinks, chatted, watched some football, and ate some great food. John has decided that he adores Aunt Sheila and was sitting on her lap quite a lot.
Unlike last year where I forgot to take *any* pictures at their place (seriously, *how* does that happen?!?), I did manage to get a few pictures including this picture of Uncle Scot, Laura, and Uncle Ian!
I think we all had a great time and it was a perfect way to end our Thanksgiving trip. Nice and relaxing with great family!
What a busy day! It started at Dave's and Kristena's house as Andy put on his "IT hat" and got to work. He set our old server up for them and did a bit of other work. We followed that up with lunch at Rosati's in Belvidere where we got to "behold the power of electronic devices."
Yes, that *is* nine kids - you just can't see Addyson in this picture - being absolutely quiet. Now, before you go making comments about how sad it is that they were engrossed in the electronic devices and not talking/laughing with each other, please keep in mind that nine kids can make a *lot* of noise. The restaurant is very small and they would have been extremely disruptive to other diners. Besides, this was actually quite funny because I think it was the *only* quiet time they had the entire time they were all together!
After lunch, we headed for downtown, arriving about 3 pm. We checked in, put on our long underwear, and headed out for time on the town! The Kassel Family separated from the rest of the group because we wanted to go to Daley Plaza. Our first stop was to see the windows at Marshall... Oh, um, I mean Macy's. The windows were great this year and the kids loved them! Their favorite window was about "Miracle on 34th Street". The movie was actually playing in the window display.
Next, we visited the big Christmas tree in Daley Plaza. The kids were amazed at how tall it was. I always love to see that Christmas tree because it makes it really feel like the Christmas season.
We visited the Christkindlmarket where we purchased a few things, including another dragon statue for the kids' room and an Alpaca scarf for me. The scarf was definitely a splurge, but I love it! After a quick dinner, we headed back to the hotel and spent the rest of the evening in the BlumeNation hotel suite with family. I had intended to stay for just a short time because the kids were tired, but it wasn't until well after 10 pm that I dragged them down to our room for bed. Actually, there wasn't much dragging as both Laura and John asked if they could go to bed. And to bed they went! It was sleep in less than two minutes. A fitting end to a very fun, busy day!
After a leisurely morning at our hotel, we spent the day with family at Andy's cousin's house. We had not seen most of them in quite a while, so it was good to catch up. True to form, the adults seemed to congregate in the kitchen as we chatted away...
It was a day filled with lots of family (over 30 people!), food, and fun. Suffice it to say that when we headed back to the hotel, we were all tired. John even decided against going swimming and requested some time by himself. After putting the kids to bed, Andy and I enjoyed some wine and relaxed in front of the fireplace in our hotel room (nice hotel perk, huh?!?). It was a great way to end a very busy day.
And, don't worry... I did "force" the kids and Andy to have pictures taken before leaving for the Thanksgiving festivities. I love that my family indulges my Project Life 365 habit!
Laura and John
Andy and I